Defensive lapses lead to pair of losses for NIU


Senior forward Mike Sible (19) looks for an open teammate against St. Louis University defenseman Jony Riel (7) during the Huskies’ 7-5 loss Saturday.

By Korey Peterson

NIU hockey lost both of its weekend games to the Saint Louis University Billikens, 7-5 and 7-4. The games began divisional play for the Huskies in the Gold division of the Mid-America Collegiate Hockey Association.

The Huskies (2-4-2) have been out of the win column since their opening weekend, increasing the win-less streak to six games.

SLU (6-2-1) took advantage of several NIU penalties in both games, producing eight of its goals on the power play.

“Penalties killed us,” said NIU head coach Greg Chromy. “There is always going to be a few bad penalties, but we have to make sure we stay out of the box.”

SLU put up five goals in the first period of the first game, as they would maintain a lead throughout the weekend. The Billikens were led by sophomore forwards Eric Wendt, Johnny Moore and freshman forward Brent Wingerter. The team’s top line had 33 points combined through seven games coming into the match up at NIU.

NIU freshmen Mark Greenberg and Joe Boris scored just a few minutes apart in the second period to cut the deficit to 5-4, but the Huskies couldn’t find the back of the net in the third period. Freshman Jon Pounds and senior Chris Bednarek also had goals for NIU.

Sophomore goaltender Alex Alessi got the start in net for the Huskies in the first game and would allow seven goals. Sophomore Craig Haa also gave up seven goals as he started in goal on Saturday.

“The goaltenders are stopping the first shots,” Chromy said. “The defensive zone coverage needs to pick it up after that and that is where we are bowing down on the job a bit.”

Greenberg added two more goals in the second contest, giving him a total of three on the weekend. Pounds would add his second of the weekend while senior Peter Alfano also had a goal.

“When you’re playing down a man, it’s obviously a lot harder to score,” Greenberg said. “We need to stop getting so many penalties.”

NIU will face Missouri State University this coming weekend for its final two home games until Nov. 28.